Grids of purple and yellow under purple, yellow, white or black stripes in different shades and widths fill computer screens in Tennessee Tech University’s Foundation Hall. There are nearly a dozen plaids and students, faculty, staff and alumni will be asked in coming weeks to select a favorite.
All semester, students in TTU’s human ecology program have been playing with shades of purple and gold, layers and line widths. The winning pattern will be launched in the fall, featured on a variety of projects as the official university tartan plaid.
To vote on the tartan designs, click here:
“Not many people can say they’ve designed a product that they can wear and use,” said Jaylen Moore, a senior merchandising and design student from Cookeville. “I think the fact that it was designed by a student, that will appeal to a lot of people because it’s more special. It was designed by a TTU class.”
The 10 students in the class have each made dozens of designs using a computer program that allows them to layer and manipulate the plaids in myriad ways. Each student selected one design to submit to the vote, which will be held May 5-16. For the students, most of whom will graduate in May, designing on a computer was a new experience.
“It’s always been lots of hands-on work in our program, so it’s really cool having this program to work with. We’ve always focused on feeling the fabric, looking at the thread count and the dye work,” said Susannah Warren, senior fashion merchandising student from Ootelwah. “It’s been different working on the computer and trying to visualize what it will actually look like.”
While designing their tartans, the students have also developed marketing plans, special hangtags for the products and the products themselves. When the line launches in the fall, the university bookstore will have items for a variety of ages and incomes.
They envision sweatpants and sweatshirts with the university name or logo in tartan, folders and lanyards for students. For others, they hope to see rain apparel, fleece jackets, ties and bowties, blankets and high-end scarves.
The plaid has been produced with guidance from Michael Cannon from Collegiate Tartan Apparel, and it will be registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans, a Scottish organization that preserves and promotes information about historic and contemporary tartans from around with world.
Lizabeth Self-Mullins, professor and interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, worked for months to design a class to develop a student-designed tartan plaid at TTU. As the university’s centennial approaches in March, 2015, the timing, she said, is perfect.
“This is another way for us to celebrate our university and to create a new tradition,” Mullins said. “This also gives current students a chance to leave their mark and impact Tech’s future in a way that also benefits their future careers.”